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  • Jennifer Gillen

The Allure of a New Year


My year started curiously. I awoke on January 1st to the sound of a barking and howling dog. Looking out the windows of our vacation rental, I saw a skinny black dog making deep trails in the snow. He seemed to be enjoying the thick powder and simply frolicking about before sunrise. Every so often he bounced up from the snow and howled. Most likely the poor dog had been startled by the sounds of fireworks the previous evening.


I thought about that dog for many days afterwards, wondering if maybe I should have let him in to the warm house. Later though, I found out that he belonged to a family nearby and that was just his morning routine. What a joyous routine!


It occurs to me now, as I start to think about where 2023 might lead, that my life is lacking in routines, both the joyous kind and the more mundane. My studio practice is all over the place. Sometimes I paint for huge stretches well past midnight. Other days it's easy to segment painting into clear work and rest times. I would love to start my days with a joyful routine. Maybe a brisk walk or something that's both rejuvenating and awakening. Who knows where this idea will lead?


The dog in the snow had a little lesson to give, a gift for 2023. It's the message to start every morning with a celebration that the day has arrived.

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